About the author, Joe Dallas

Joe Dallas

Joe Dallas is the Program Director of Genesis Counseling. He is also the author of several books, including, The Game Plan: The Men's 30-Day Strategy for Attaining Sexual Integrity. He is a pastoral counselor and a popular conference speaker. For more than three years Joe taught and conducted the nationally recognized Every Man’s Battle conference as the originating Program Director, and from 1991 to 1993, he served as the President of Exodus International. Joe and his wife Renee reside in Orange County, California, with their two sons.

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20 thoughts on “Blaming the Mrs.

  1. This is very interesting article.

    I am sad to say, that none of those final bulletpoints have happened nor are they in the works yet for our marriage.

    A little background. Our marriage is Biblical, started out that way and we have continued that way. I seek to submit to and honor my husband as God calls me to, he seeks to love me as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her. We made our own vows and those verses were in them, by each of our own choosing.

    This is a tough road obviously, but living, truly, by the Bible always is, in action. And not appreciated by this “world”, mostly condemned instead.

    That being said, my husband has said to me in response to his online porn use, that if I gave him more frequent intimacy, he wouldn’t need to look at porn.

    In our case, I can understand this. So, it was easy to forgive the first time. And for me to try harder to meet all his needs. I feel I do that to the best of my abillity.

    That ability might not be enough for him. Does this mean I hold no responsibility for his actions, his sin. I have been trained to believe just the opposite. That I am to blame in some way, by my family, by my church upbringing, by my husband, by myself wanting to be accountable for my actions or lack there of.

    I do not think the injured party should take on undue criticism, but are we wrong to think that we have SOMETHING to do with it and that we should be held accountable for OUR actions as well.

    I am struggling to understand how to proceed with my communication and steps in regards to my husband’s porn issue. I have felt very empowered by some articles I have read here. But now, I’m getting confused again. This sounds a little like the pro-feminism going on in this world that I feel very against.

    Let me know what you think….

    In Christ,
    Confused Wife

    • Hello Confused Wife. First, let me say, in reading all of your comments on this blog, I am so sorry to hear about your situation. The more comments like this I read, the more I am reminded about how devastating pornography is to a marriage. What is worse is that many Christian women talk about the harms pornography brings to trust and intimacy. To be sure, you are not alone, but I know this doesn’t make your situation any better.

      In reading this post I believe Joe’s main point is that a wife is not “responsible” for her husband’s sins, just as none of us are responsible for another’s sin. Even if we sin against another person (which we may often do), their sinful response is theirs to own, not ours. Joe states here a wife is most certainly responsible for her own sins towards her husband.

      Does his full responsibility mean a wife has nothing to do with her husband’s behavior? No. We are all guilty of sin and we are all sinned against. The issue isn’t responsibility but influence. No marriage is perfect. No husband or wife is perfect. We all carry some influence on others, but we bear responsibility for our own sins.

      You might like the interview we did Jeff and Marsha Fisher about his addiction to porn. Part 3 is particularly instructive to wives. You might also like Part 2 of our interview with Tray and Melody Lovvorn. Both Marsha and Melody talk some about how their husbands’ sins revealed sins in her own heart.

      Thanks again for your comment. You have our prayers today.

    • Your husbands porn issue may have a lot to d with how his fater was probably more then you realize.
      Tiger’s dad was a ladys man so often it is learned behavior.
      Pray… too it is the most powerful tool we have!


  2. One crucial thing that I remind myself is that by our own lusts and desires our we enticed and ultimately fall. There is a place for regular, consistent healthy sex. But I can tell you from experience, that a man who feeds into porn, creates an appetite that will never be satisfied. The only way for him to be satisfied is to starve it out, kill it off, and create a pure appetite, one that God intends a man to have. It can be done. I have experienced the mercy and love of God in this area. Porn creates an idea of sexual relations that simply does not exist in real life. And when you begin to desire unrealistic sex and it never comes, you’re left unsatisfied, searching anywhere. I have come to understand, through my own struggles, what is obvious: marriage is symbolic of Christ’s relationship to the church. But I never gave much thought to something else.. sex has to be symbolic too. It is symbolic of Christ and His people becoming one, just as Christ is one with God. I never knew how bad I was perverting this wonderful display until I gave heed to this. Your husband must begin to understand these things to overcome. You are accountable for how you handle this from here on out. Remember, it’s a process, and God will give both of you understanding of Himself through this time. He won’t just remove it, he will do much much more.

  3. You mention “due remorse” and “allow her to express her own pain”.

    My husbands porn use started long before me. I have realized that it’s not about me. In fact the gnawling feeling that I wasn’t enough for him, should have been one of the first signs of his problem. I didn’t know of the addiction but I knew I wasn’t enough, no matter what I did….how much I exercised, how skinny I became, what “pretties” I tried. In fact learning of the addiction, painful as it was, freed me from the constant battle to try to be enough. Don’t get me wrong, I pray constantly for God to show me my part in this, and beg God to help me be the wife He/God calls me to be to my husband.

    My husband is always blaming me for something. I’m constantly trying to have a “sanity check” to figure out what I should take blame for and what I shouldn’t.
    However when it comes to remorse….whenever it is obviously clear that he’s “using” (I know he lies about it regularly), and we have to come face to face with the issue, he “cries in remorse”. However, I’ve found that remorse to be hallow….since eventually the cycle has always started over again. If he really has remorse, he’d do the other items on your list; specifically be serious about accountability and tx.

    In my case, my husband is very depressed and has been for many years. He actually has moved on to calling himself mentally ill. I struggle to know when it’s safe to let him see any of my pain. I hold way back in that area. I try very hard to give it to God, and let go and let God. I know that God’s handling of my pain and the issue is way better that what I could do. However, when my pain appears in any way to my husband, he usually increases in anger, guilt, remorse, or other expressions of his “mental” pain. I can’t be responsible for any of my pain pushing him over the edge, so I battle with this issue. While I do truly believe, I must take it all to God, where is the balance? The balance in worldly terms would be called “co-dependency” issues. Where is the balance in the reality of him seeing the truth of the pain? vs me “protecting him” from seeing the pain because my pain would hurt him so deeply?

    I’m asking this question, but also, continuing to take it to God daily. The best book I’ve read of all on porn addiction and on marriage was ‘THRIVING DESPITE A DIFFICULT MARRIAGE’. I’m trying to ‘thrive’ but his blaming, depression, anger, pain, and hateful behavior towards me is sometimes almost more than I can bear. Wait–I do know that God will not give me more than I can bear. In those moments despite the “falling over” in pain and anguish, despite the stuggle to function, I know God is carryhing me through. I continually strive to find forgiveness and healing in God.

    He blames the “mental health”…the depression came first” he says, but the porn started in those “forming teen years”….and the depression did not show it’s face until the reality of the addiciton surfaced and he started dealing with the guilt more openly. (meaning, i think he had guilt for the 10 years before I knew, but when he had to face it with others knowing…I believe the guilt began turing into depression, and now about 15 years after that, he calls it mental illness. The “world” is no help here….for the “world” is quick to cover “sin and it’s consequences” with psychiatric names….depression, borderline personality disorder, mental illness. I know that there are biological causes. My husband constantly focus on the “illness” and the biology…but in the mean time he’s using that as a crutch to continue the sin, rather than finding freedom from the sin. Sin also causes physical, biological and mental health problems. Our world today, even the church tries to deny that. Of couse I cannot state any of this thinking of my to my husband/addict. For he who blames me constantly would say that I “don’t understand, am blaming him, or not taking responsibility for me.”

    So I contine to stand by, asking God to show me my part, seeking regular “sanity checks”, asking God to show me how to show love to my spouse in some little way each day (he now pushes me away most of the time–so all i can do some days is rub his feet, rub his back, make his lunch, have a good dinner.) I pray for and see that God does allow moments when I can speak truth to my husband. I know beyond a shadow of a doubt that God has allowed moments of truth. So I continue to with that truth, quietly speak to my husband, that “I still love you, I’m still here for you”. However, lately he’s fighting that too….”I’m still here too you know” he recently said. (yep he is, still here, still using, still blaming, still attacking, still hating, still lying, still angry, still raging, still depressed, still crying,…….still paying the bills, still being the dad, still going to work, still telling me what to do, still going to church, still walking the dog, still ………still agonizing over life……….still God’s child whom I’m praying will find healing.)

    • An abuser will continue their abuse if allowed. I recently told my husband of 30 years he had to leave if he didn’t get help for his porn addictiom.

      I have learned and lived the “person who is trying to do the right thing”, who is too quick to forgive, who continually looks past problems and behaviors becomes angry & resentful, I know I have.

      Trully, does God want such undending suffering, joylessness and sacrifice in the name of love? Where in this picture is love? I believe God is about love, and where in this picture is there any love?

      Best of luck. I know I’ll need it but I won’t back down.

    • To hopealways,
      What an inspiration your post is. I realize that I’m just now reading it almost a year after it was written, but it still breaths hope. To the person that says “where is the love”…..I would say this is a wonderful example of the love that Jesus has for us. Was Jesus treated fairly, did people not use Him & abuse Him, did they not brutally kill Him in the end? And yet what did He do? He said, “Father forgive them for they do not know what they do.” He still chose to lay down His life for us, even though many times we ignore Him & put every other thing before Him. I’m not saying that someone should stay in an abusive situation, but I am saying that we made an oath before God on our wedding day………..”for better or worse”.

      hopealways, you are being that example for Christ that your husband needs right now. And even though you don’t seem to be seeing any results of your faithfulness we know that God’s word never returns void. I’m sure the world will continue to tell you that you’re stupid, that your being used, why do you stay with him, etc. But, I say, hang in there girl! You don’t have to be joyless even though your husband is not there for you right now. Your joy doesn’t have to be dependent on circumstances but can always be found in your precious savior, Jesus Christ! I recently read an article about a woman who did just that. She stuck by her God first & then by her man through many difficult seemingly loveless years, until finally her husbands defenses were broken down, he accepted Christ & there marriage was reborn. I wish I could remember the name of the woman & I would share it with you.
      Best of love to you my sister,

  4. I agree!

    I am about to walk on my marriage because my husband thinks porn is perfectly fine.
    I do not want to be angry and resentful.

  5. My husband and I have only been married for 3 and a half years. In past relationships I did not mind my partner watching porn, as long as they made me feel good about myself. However, the first time I caught my husband watching porn was when I was 6 months pregnant, and I have emotionally shut down to him. His excuse is always every guy does it, Im not doing anything wrong. After I caught my husband the first time I have been very insecure with him to the point where I do not feel comfortable making love to him. The whole time I am thinking about all my faults. I do have chronic pelvic pain and sometimes i am unable to have intercourse with my husband because of that pain, however I think that I would be more apt to making love to him if he wasnt still (3 years later of me begging him to stop because it hurts me and makes me insecure) watching it. At this point I have threatened everything and he is still watching porn and of course my threats at this point have been unfulfilled. I do scream at him, and we do fight constantly because his porn addiction has made me resent him for everything. I am at a loss of what to do. He will not get help because he believes watching these videos is normal. He even now favorites specific videos on his phone internet. I do not know how much more I can take : (

  6. I adore my husband. I go out of my way to show him that he is loved, respected, and appreciated. I make myself available to him for intimacy any time… but he rarely wants me. I am slowly amassing screenshot evidence of an extensive online porn obsession, Google searches for filthy and very specific topics, teen porn, video messages from porn sites, and now sexually explicit text conversations with a coworker. He could have all the sex he wanted with the wife who loves him, but he prefers the excitement of his fantasies. He hasn’t taken communion at church in months, and says he just doesn’t feel close to God any more. Well, I guess NOT!

    So now I’m trying to decide when and how to confront him, or if I should just pack up the kids and leave him to his texting and Googling.

    I truly love my husband. If there is any way to save my marriage, I would love to find it. But it’s going to have to come from him. I am worth his faithfulness, and I’m not willing to share him with all these other women. My heart is broken.

    I will be buying a subscription to Covenant Eyes in the very near future and installing it on every computer in this house to protect my boys. If my husband won’t make that commitment, then I may just take it as a sign that our marriage can’t be resurrected. :-(

    • You are worth his faithfulness, and you shouldn’t have to share.

      I would suggest a couple of things. One, find a counselor just for yourself, who can help you process your emotions and decide on healthy boundaries. Two, find a group, either locally or online, to give you support and community.

      You might want to take a look at our free download, Hope After Porn, where several women talk about their own walk through recovery.

      You’re right: it’s up to him to decide if he wants his family or his fantasy. And some men DO make the healthy choice and recover. You can offer that to him! Meanwhile, make sure that YOU are taking care of YOU and being healthy, no matter what he chooses.

      Peace to you, Kay

  7. “Love your wives as Christ loved the Church.” But just try quoting the other half of that command—“Wives, submit to your husbands” —and watch the outrage at such an archaic, sexist notion.”
    I have no trouble submitting AS UNTO THE LORD, not AS IF HE IS THE LORD, if he sincerely loves me in the manner of God’s design for marriage, as we women must also follow God’s design for marriage.
    I for one WILL NOT settle for any man who feels forced to love me in spite of myself because God says so.
    I am not an odious woman in the sense as described in this article.
    Face the truth; MOST men are purely carnal, and act like they’re doing you a favor by staying married to you!
    I say; do me a favor, don’t do me no favors!!

  8. Porn has been ongoing in our relationship and now marriage for years! Everytime he says he will change. He never seeks help, so he doesn’t change. I got him setup for a counseling session with a volunteer counselor(since he can’t afford a paying one). He went today. I’m proud of that. I told him I realized why I can’t bring myself to be with him as much as he’d like. It’s because of my lack of trust with him. He says he wouldn’t have to turn to porn if we had it more. Then why did he turn to it one day when we we made, what I thought was love, that same morning?! There so much, it’s so complicated. I’m so hurt. He actually says he views me as asexual. He says even if he didn’t view porn I would still not have sex with him alot, or as much as he’d like to because I have a low sex drive. He hurt me further by saying he views oral sex in porn because I am not comfortable doing that with him. I go to speak with the same male Christian counselor tomorrow. I literally dread it. I fear his mindset will be the same as my husband’s. “Well, if you had more sex with him he would stop viewing other women sexually.”…”have sex with him, even if you don’t trust him because you know by intuition he’s still viewing porn”. I’m so lost, confused, and devastated. he just told me this morning that none of this was my fault, but tonight he changes his tune. He said I must have a f****ed up mind.

    • Hi AJ,
      I am so, so sorry for what you are going through. I think a lot of what your husband says to you is gaslighting, a form of mental abuse where facts are twisted to favor the abuser and make the victim doubt their own experiences and reality. Here’s a short animation that explains more about gaslighting.

      You are never, ever required to take part in any sex acts if you don’t want to. Sex should always be consensual: YOU should want to have sex, in other words!

      And I think physical intimacy is a representation of the emotional intimacy in a relationship. If there’s no emotional intimacy, if there is instead abuse and addiction, then you can’t expect a healthy sex life.

      When you go to the counselor, you should feel safe. You should feel respected. You should feel heard. You should not feel talked down to, ignored, lectured, or in any way diminished as a person. If you don’t like the counselor, DON’T GO BACK!

      I always advise wives to find a counselor just for themselves, someone they feel safe with, someone who can help them process their own pain and build healthy boundaries. I do not see porn addiction as a couples’ problem. I think men need to get themselves into treatment and do their work separately from the traumatized spouse. Later on, if he does enter into recovery and do his work, couples’ therapy might become appropriate.

      Peace to you,

  9. In response to the article, Matthew 18, Luke 17, and Romans 14 all say that it is possible to cause someone to sin or rather according to Strong’s put a stumbling block in their path.

    In my case, my wife refuses me sexually for months at a time and I have no legitimate way to satisfy my sexual appetite. It’s not like people who are dating in the world that can just break up and find someone else to have sex with. I’m locked into a marriage covenant with the only person who can meet my sexual desire and who sees nothing wrong with that behavior even after being told for eight years.

    That is a stumbling block or a willful offense that can cause me to sin. I won’t go into the disrespect and other unreasonable behaviors that don’t make sense. But to the world around us, she’s a saint so if things completely fall apart, they’ll say “he really messed up” “look what he did to her” “she deserves better” and no one would believe the truth if I told them. It’s like in proverbs that you have the wise woman who builds up her house and you have the foolish woman who tears hers down with her own hands. You may not be able to make your spouse sin but you can sure trip them up and back them in such a corner that when they are weak enough, they will sin.

    • The Bible does not excuse you from personal responsibility. Your choices belong to you, regardless of what your wife does or does not do. “The woman that thou gavest me” is the oldest excuse in the book. It didn’t work then, and it won’t work now. Find a good marriage therapist and do the work that it takes to repair the relationship.

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